Sober curious, part-time sober, intentional drinking … call it what you want, but eliminating or just limiting alcohol intake is having a moment. Like the saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” it seems many people are embracing a more flexible approach to abstaining from drinking. As a result, businesses have recognized the demand for alcohol-free and low-alcohol options. Just in time for all those holiday parties, we’ve taste-tested some low- and no-alcohol drink options to give you an idea of what’s available — and what’s tasty, to boot!
Non-Alcoholic Options & Mixers
$18 (6.8 fl oz) or $30 (23.7 fl oz)
Seedlip is an herbaceous gin stand-in, and it is one of the first alcohol-free spirits I came across earlier this year. If you’re simply looking to limit your drinking, but still want to feel like you’re having a drink, this is a great option. Seedlip tastes lighter and more herby than gin, but it is still reminiscent of a gin and tonic, all with zero alcohol. Seedlip’s beautifully designed website has about 50 different cocktail recipes, so you’re sure to find a concoction you’ll like.
Related: Why People Are Choosing Not To Drink
Starting at $22
Another alcohol-free option, Curious Elixers promotes imbibing their beverages so you’re “shaken, not slurred.” Using only organic juices, herbs and spices, each flavor also promotes various health benefits like increased dopamine production and better circulation. I’m particularly fond of their latest limited release offering of Curious Elixer No. 4. The citrus-based blend lends itself well to a refreshing Aperol Spritz if you do wish to drink, and it includes ginseng, turmeric and holy basil to aid in destressing.
Kin takes its booze-free beverage to another level by including adaptogens and nootropics that provide similar mental relaxation and feelings to those that you get from that first drink of the night. They currently offer one flavor, High Rhode, which is described as a hibiscus Rhodiola (a plant with purported benefits of increased energy and endurance). It’s quite bitter and tastes lightly of licorice, which I didn’t mind, but I would recommend pairing it with a sweeter, effervescent accompaniment to make it feel properly festive and cocktail-y.
$39.99 for an eight-pack or $29.99 for a sampler six-pack
I’m including Recess in this roundup even though it’s more like sparkling water or La Croix than a cocktail mixer or mocktail stand-in. Better for a day-time party or afternoon gathering, it’s still worth trying. Like some other options on this list, Recess includes plant extracts and adaptogens to help provide the same relaxation that people find from alcohol. Available in four flavors, the pomegranate hibiscus was my favorite, though I did not experience any particular calming effects besides simply enjoying the beverage.
$7 (4 fl oz) or $14.99 (12.5 fl oz)
We’ve already introduced you to the lovely Rhonda Cammon, proprietor of Perfectly Cordial, but her creation deserves to be spotlighted, too. The mixer is as perfectly suited to cocktails as it is to mocktails, with the addition of club soda. Fruitier than the others listed here, Perfectly Cordial mixes are best for balancing with club soda or including in cocktails like margaritas (although it really does pair well with any spirit!).
Starting at $21 for three bottles
When I think of alcohol-free champagne, I’m reminded of the Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider-fueled holiday dinners of my youth, which resulted in a stomachache from over-imbibing the excessively sweet, bubbly apple juice. I promise you, TÖST is NOT that. In fact, the effervescent blend of white tea, white cranberry and ginger is beloved by chefs, and it is the winner of the SOFI award for best new cold beverage from the Specialty Food Association. I have not been able to locate TÖST stocked in any Southeastern shops, but it’s quite affordable to order online, especially when compared to the cost of alcohol.
Wolffer Estate Petite Rosé Verjus
$42 for 12 bottles
Wolffer Estate, a sustainable vineyard located in the Hamptons, has been producing traditional wines for more than 20 years. Earlier this year, they introduced their foray into non-alcoholic rosé with this Petite Rosé Verjus, beautifully packaged in single-serving bottles. The beverage is made with 100% Pinot Meunier grapes and has notes of fresh pear and hints of lemon. I love Wolffer’s rosé cider, so I’m happy to find the brand’s alternate version to enjoy on days I’m craving something special.
Low-Alcohol Options and Mixers
$8.99 for a four-pack
Playfully named to reference the inclusion of honey in their recipe, this low-alcohol option is a great choice for those who aren’t abstaining from alcohol completely. Called a “honey wine spritzer,” b contains just 3.5% alcohol, which is naturally derived from honey. They mix the honey with either cherry or blueberry to create their two signature flavors. This one is definitely on the sweeter side, but the low amount of alcohol is unique. Mixing it with soda water made for easy-drinking without the need to keep up with how many glasses I consumed.
Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Angostura Aromatic Bitters come in a variety of types and flavors and are a staple in any home or commercial bar. At around 44% alcohol-by-volume, bitters, in general, may not be the first drink that comes to mind when looking for a low-alcohol beverage option. Typical spirits can range from 35-70% alcohol-by-volume, so 44% abv is decidedly not low-alcohol. However, bitters are highly concentrated and complex in flavor, so you only need to add a dash to a cocktail or mocktail to impart flavor. Bitters are a fantastic option for elevating your mocktail with extremely little alcohol as long as you aren’t mixing it with other spirits. On the plus side, bitters also contain gentian root, an herb that aids in digestion problems and has been shown to relieve all sorts of maladies.
Cheers to the holiday party scene whether you choose to imbibe or not. And if you do, be responsible!
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